Spell­ing Bee win­ner to con­quer Africa

Hlu­lani ready for an­nual spell­ing com­pe­ti­tion

Sowetan - - Front Page - By Karabo Led­waba

A grade 7 pupil from Lim­popo will be jet­ting off to Kenya to rep­re­sent South Africa in the an­nual African Spell­ing Bee com­pe­ti­tion later this month. Hlu­lani Baloyi, 13, said it was the cor­rect spell­ing of the word “Pharaoh” that earned her the stripes as Mzansi Spell­ing Bee and qual­i­fied her to com­pete against the best in Africa. “I read the dic­tionary ev­ery­day to prac­tise but that word I re­mem­bered from a pas­sage I read in the Bible,” she said. Baloyi from Ma­gan­geni Pri­mary School in ru­ral Mala­mulele prac­tises ev­ery­day and goes to week­end classes where she has stud­ied over a 100 words in the past few weeks. “I’ve been writ­ing five tests a day to pre­pare for my trip.” She said her favourite book is Nel­son Man­dela’s Long Walk To Free­dom, which has been in­stru­men­tal in her love for lit­er­a­ture. “My favourite word is free­dom. It rep­re­sents what the great­est hero in South Africa has sac­ri­ficed for him­self and us,” said Baloyi. Although her school has many prob­lems like over­crowd­ing, short­age of class­rooms and no li­brary, Baloyi has not let this stop her dreams. Ma­gan­geni re­mains a top-per­form­ing pri­mary school in Lim­popo and the prin­ci­pal, Lucky Mashaba, will be rep­re­sent­ing Lim­popo for a life­time achieve­ment award for his work in ed­u­ca­tion later this month. “The school has been so sup­port­ive of me and they were able to find spon­sors for me to help pay for my trip,” Baloyi said.

“I am a lit­tle bit ner­vous. I’ve re­searched on who I will be com­pet­ing against and I’m ex­cited to meet peo­ple from dif­fer­ent cul­tures and lan­guages and mak­ing new friends.” The direc­tor of the Mzansi Spell­ing Bee Com­pe­ti­tion, Nt­sako Mkha­bela, said the prizes are still to be con­firmed but a cash prize and a free un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree at Monash Univer­sity, north­west of Jo­han­nes­burg, would be up for grabs. Baloyi’s mother, Tinyiko, said she was proud of her daugh­ter. “I am very proud of her. I am look­ing for­ward to see­ing her suc­ceed.”

/ AN­TO­NIO MUCHAVE

Hlu­lani Baloyi from Ma­gan­geni Pri­mary School in Mala­mulele will rep­re­sent SA in a spell­ing com­pe­ti­tion in Kenya later this month.

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